Pilot Ensign Masaharu Yokoyama (KIA)
Crew Petty Officer 2nd Class Sadamu Kamita (KIA)
Scuttled December 7-8, 1941
Built in Kure during 1938.
On December 7, 1941 one of five midget subs attached to five I-class "mother"
submarines (I-16, I-18, I-20, I-22 and I-24) to be launched 5-6 hours
before the aerial attack off Pearl
Harbor as a "Special Attack Unit" that would attack any shipps attempting to sortie or submerged navigate counterclockwise around Ford Island, firing their torpedoes then rendezvous that night with the mother submarines seven miles west
of Lanai Island.
On December 7, 1941 at 12:42am I-16 arrived at the launch point seven miles SSW of the entrance to Pearl Harbor, the first of the five midget submarines launched.
The precise fate of this submarine is unknown. It is believed it entered Pearl Harbor, fired both torpedoes at Battleship Row then entered West Loch. Trapped, the crew scuttled the submarine and killed themselves.
At 10:41pm, I-16 received a message "se, se, se” (short for seiko, seiko, seiko - success, success, success) indicating the aerial attack was a success. Reception was poor and the message might have come from any of the midget submarines. On December 8, 1941 at 12:51am I-16 recieves a message thought to be from this midget submarine "unable to navigate". No other transmissions were received.
Afterwards, an unexploded torpedo dud of the type used by the Type A midget submarines was located and recovered from Pearl Harbor. Possibly, this torpedo was from this midget submarine.
After the West Loch disaster on May 21, 1944, this midget submarine was discovered by the U. S. Navy (USN) while salvaging wreckage from the explosion. The submarine was raised to the surface and both torpedo tubes were found to be empty. Afterwards, the midget submarine dumped three miles south of Pearl Harbor. The discovery remained classified until 1960.
During 2009, the wreckage of this submarine was rediscovered by a team assembled by PBS Nova positively identified as "Midget E" (M-16), the last of the five midget submarines used at Pearl Harbor.
On March 6, 1942, the midget submarine crews of all the Pearl Harbor attack (except Ensign Sakamaki who was taken prisoner) were posthumously promoted two ranks.
The crews are also memorialized at the Nine War Gods Monument at Suga Park, Mitsukue Bay, Ehime Prefecture.
Combined Fleet - Midget Submarines at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii 1941
Combined Fleet - HIJMS Submarine I-16: Tabular Record of Movement
US Navy Heritage - Japanese Navy Ships -- Ha-19 (Midget Submarine, 1938-1941)
HURL "Report on Condition of 3 Piece Japanese Midget Submarine by Terry Kerby pages 1-17
NOVA "Pearl Harbor Sub Discovered" December 7, 2009
NOVA "Killer Subs in Pearl Harbor" first aired May 23, 2012
I-16tou.com details the discovery of this submarine
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November 16, 2018